Salary and Career Info for an Environmental Psychologist

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an environmental psychologist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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An environmental psychologist focuses on how humans interact with their environment, researching and analyzing the effects of lighting, architectural design, climate, furniture placement, various geographical settings, and other parts of the natural environment. They typically work in government agencies and non-profit organizations, often outside and with a team. Rapid job growth and high salaries are forecast for all types of psychologists.

Essential Information

Environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the interaction between humans and the natural environment. Psychologists in this field frequently work with design professionals and urban planners to improve this relationship. A master's degree is required, but environmental psychologists with a doctoral degree may have increased job opportunities.

Required Education Master's degree in psychology; doctoral degree may be preferred
Other Requirements State license may be required
Projected Job Growth (2014-2014)* 19% for all psychologists (much faster than average)
Median Salary (2015)* $94,590 for all psychologists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Salary Information for Environmental Psychologists

Many environmental psychologists take research-driven positions. According to an American Psychological Association (APA) 2009 salary survey, research psychologists at the doctoral level earned a yearly median salary of $80,500 (www.apa.org). Pay can vary widely by employer, but the median annual salary for psychologists in general was $94,590 in May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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Environmental Psychologists Career Information

Environmental psychologists experiment with ways to promote a healthy, sustainable relationship between people and both their immediate surroundings and the broader global ecosystem. Jobs are available through non-profit organizations and government agencies. Teaching and consulting positions are also a possibility for these professionals. As issues such as global climate change and conservation efforts receive more public attention, environmental psychology may find further outlets.

Environmental psychologists often work outside within a community rather than in an office. Because this is a relatively new field, aspiring environmental psychologists may need to be self-driven and flexible in terms of finding paid research. This research might involve monitoring the effects of architectural design, crowding, homelessness, urban parks or weather patterns on a particular population in a specific environment.

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the field, environmental psychologists may often work as part of a team with architects, engineers, sociologists and urban planners. According to the BLS, job growth for all psychologists was predicted to increase by 19% for the 2014-2024 decade. Psychologists with a doctorate may enjoy more favorable job prospects, and those with only a bachelor's or master's degree may have more trouble securing positions (www.bls.gov). Licensure is required for all psychologists who work with patients in all fifty states. Licensing requirements and protocols vary by state.

Environmental psychology is a new, yet growing field, so job openings are expected to increase, and those with doctoral degrees will have the best chance of getting them--especially since job growth for all psychologists is snowballing at 19%. Salary can vary on the type of psychologist, but psychologists overall make around $94,590 per year.

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